July 3 (UPI) -- A museum in Florida used DNA from a fragment of a shark tooth to identify a man's 25-year-old shark bite.
Jeff Weakley discovered the tooth fragment in his foot, determined it was leftover from when he was bitten by a shark in 1994 and decided to send it to researchers in the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum.
"I was very excited to determine the identity of the shark because I'd always been curious," Weakley said. "I was also a little bit hesitant to send the tooth in because for a minute I thought they would come back and tell me I'd been bitten by a mackerel or a houndfish -- something really humiliating."
Researchers were able to determine the bite came from a Carcharhinus limbatus, or blacktip shark, a species commonly involved in biting incidents in Florida.
Director of the shark research program, Gavin Naylor, said the fact that the tooth fragment spent 24 years inside of Weakley's foot put the odds of successfully identifying the shark at "slim to none."
Laboratory manager Lei Yang removed contaminants from the tooth, removed part of the enamel and sculped pulp tissue from the tooth's cavity to extract DNA from the tissue.
"It was a mystery waiting for us to uncover," he said.